Friday, 14 December 2018

A prayer for those involved in nativity plays

For both the children and the adults organising it.

Thank you for sending Jesus at Christmas.

Thank you that we can do this play.

Help us to do our best. 

Help us to remember we’re not doing it to make ourselves look great, but to make Jesus look great.

Please use it to help other people understand more about Jesus and why he came.


Wednesday, 12 December 2018

On cakes and conscience

I've had bits of this post swirling around in my head for ages. I'd meant to post it before the verdict on the Asher's cake case. That didn't happen, but what I'm saying is the same.

As it was far too long, I've cut out everything but the main point, so people might actually read it :-)

I can see both sides. I understand why the bakers refused to make the cake (and I agree with them). But I also understand why the customer was upset.

What if it had been the other way round, i.e. someone had ordered a cake saying 'Marriage is between a man and a woman', or 'Jesus is the one true God', and a cake shop had refused to make it because they disagreed. I'm willing to bet that a lot of Christians would now be running round screaming about persecution.

BUT if I want the legal right to refuse to do something I disagree with, even if it inconveniences or embarrasses someone else, I must also be willing for other people to refuse to do something because they disagree with it, even if it inconveniences or embarrasses me.

You can't have your cake and eat it 

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Bethlehem pasttimes

As well as worshipping Jesus and giving him gifts, a couple of the wise men spent some time in Bethlehem playing pelmanism with Mary and Joseph.

Waiting to be called for filming our Nativity video.

Monday, 3 December 2018

Topsy turvy

There's something wrong with a society where mending clothes is a time-wasting luxury.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Thousands of pounds

Did the prodigal son on Sunday, and I asked my class of 6-8 year olds, " If you had thousands of pounds you could spend on yourself, on whatever you liked, what would you spend it on?
Here are the answers I got:
  • 2 swimming pools for the summer and 50 rabbits for the winter
  • Lego
  • Food and water [this sounds like a what-I-think-my-teacher-wants-me-to-say answer]
  • Plastic surgery [this appeared to be a joke, or I would be rather concerned]
  • Lentils and carrots and things to make soup
The prodigal son spending his money

Did you know that 'prodigal' means 'wasteful'?

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Getting old

When I first read CS Lewis's Out of the Silent Planet as a teenager, Ransom was quite old - middle aged.

Last time I read it, he was ages with me (35-40).

Just read it again, and he's younger than me.

Christmas Chronology

This is the correct Christmas chronology as far as I can see.

Luke is yellow
Matthew is blue

  • Gabriel comes to Zechariah.
  • John is concieved.
  • 6 months later, Gabriel comes to Mary. I assume Jesus was concieved at this point (that certainly seems to be Mary's assumption when she asks how this is possible).
  • 'In those days' Mary goes to see Elizabeth (probably fairly immediately as she 'hurried').
  • Mary stays with Elizabeth 3 months then returns home. Seems odd for Mary to return home just before John is born. Maybe Luke is just wrapping up that story before concentrating on John, and John was born towards the end of the three months. Or maybe not - there could have been some unavoidable reason to go home before John was born - real life doesn't always work out tidily.
  • John is born. 
  • Joseph finds out Mary is pregnant. No idea how. No idea who else knew.
  • Angel appears to Joseph and  he 'takes Mary as his wife'. I assume this means a proper wedding.
  • Joseph & Mary go to Bethlehem to register. At this point Luke describes them as only 'pledged to be married' - this is odd, but the best suggestion I have heard was that he considered an unconsummated marriage to be not yet really married.
  • 'While they were there' Jesus was born (not necessarily the night they arrived).
  • That night, the angels appear to the shepherds and they visit Jesus.
  • When Jesus is 8 days old he is circumcised and named.
  • 'When the days of purification were finished' (33 days after circumcision for a boy) they take him to the temple to offer 2 doves. Simeon & Anna.
  • 'After Jesus was born' wise men come.
  • They see 'the child' Jesus. At least 41 days old. Because it must have been after M&J went to the temple. I assume about 1-2 years, because Herod killed boys under 2 based on the time the star appeared.
  • After they had gone the angel appears to Joseph.
  • Escape to Egypt.
  • Herod kills all boys 2 and under
  • 'After Herod died' they return to Nazareth. (4BC or 1BC, depending who you listen to!)

Tuesday, 20 November 2018


Fantasy is an exercise bicycle for the mind. It might not take you anywhere, but it tones up the muscles that can.
~Terry Pratchett

Monday, 19 November 2018

Roman belt

First part of a Roman soldier costume I'm making.

Old belt, fun foam and aluminium foil tape.
Decoration and rivets done by pressing in the ends of various pens.


Historical info from here (though I didn't leave a space for a dagger because there won't be one.)

Saturday, 17 November 2018


This art is not supposed to last so you can be remembered.
This art is supposed to last so the Lord can be remembered.
~Andrew Peterson

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Cave art

By Pline [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons

The evolutionist stands staring in the painted cavern at the things that are too large to be seen and too simple to be understood. He tries to deduce all sorts of other indirect and doubtful things from the details of the pictures, because he cannot see the primary significance of the whole; thin and theoretical deductions about the absence of religion or the presence of superstition; about tribal government and hunting and human sacrifice and heaven knows what. [...]

When all is said, the main fact that the record of the reindeer men attests, along with all other records, is that the reindeer man could draw and the reindeer could not. If the reindeer man was as much an animal as the reindeer, it was all the more extraordinary that he could do what all other animals could not. If he was an ordinary product of biological growth, like any other beast or bird, then it is all the more extraordinary that he was not in the least like any other beast or bird. He seems rather more supernatural as a natural product than as a supernatural one.
GK Chesterton

Wednesday, 31 October 2018


Like every book I never wrote, it is by far the best book I have ever written.
~ GK Chesterton

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Accurate nativity plays

There are nativity plays out there that are humorous. There are nativity plays that are dramatic. There are nativity plays that come from an interesting angle. There are nativity plays that clearly portray the truth of the gospel. There are nativity plays that do all of these.

Why, however, is it so rare for these plays to accurately portray the events of the first Christmas?*

There's nothing about what actually happened which is incompatible with humour, drama, innovation or truth.

Please, Christian people, use your imagination and tell the true story in an engaging way. If you treat it like a fairy tale, don't be surprised if people think it is one.

*List of pet peeves: 
  • In real life, Gabriel is male; 
  • no donkey is mentioned in the Bible (feel free to have a donkey, just don't say 'Mary rode on a donkey' as if it's fact, or make a big deal of it); 
  • there is no mention of inkeepers in the Bible; 
  • the 'heavenly host' means 'heavenly army' not 'choir of fairies'; 
  • the wise men did not come at the same time as the shepherds - they were at least 40 days after, possibly up to two years; 
  • no camels are mentioned (again, treat it like the donkey); 
  • they were not kings; 
  • while there may have been 3 of them, and it's OK to have 3, don't actually say there were 3.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Meet Robo T-Rex

In his tree house.

(I ended up sitting with the kids in the cafe yesterday. I thought this was really cute.)

Friday, 19 October 2018

Design flaw

If I have to adapt the hinges of a toilet with lolly sticks and bluetack, I think someone needs to go back to the drawing board.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Psalm 8

Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
    in the heavens.

 Through the praise of children and infants
    you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
    to silence the foe and the avenger.

 When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?

 You have made them a little lower than the angels
    and crowned them with glory and honour.
 You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
    you put everything under their feet:
 all flocks and herds,
    and the animals of the wild,
 the birds in the sky,
    and the fish in the sea,
    all that swim the paths of the seas.

 Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth! Psalm 8
PowerPoint here.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Abram believed and went

A new poster to replace the old one.
The LORD had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
... So Abram went, as the LORD had told him
Genesis 12 v1,4
He took him outside and said, ‘Look up at the sky and count the stars – if indeed you can count them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’
Abram believed the LORD
Genesis 15v5-6

The sky is a roll of blue paper. Across the bottom is a path made from the paper you get scrunched up in Amazon boxes. The mountains are torn black paper. (It would have been better to assemble the background before class).

We drew round the children's (and adults') feet on yellow card and they cut them out. I lightly pencilled the words so they would be going in the right direction and be a suitable size, and they did them in colour.

I had pre-cut gold and silver triangles and showed them how to make stars. They stuck them on and filled the background with star stickers - they love using star stickers and wanted more!

Only three children today with the holidays, but with two adults we just managed to get it finished!

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Cloud of witnesses

Just noticed something.

After spending a chapter telling us about all the heroes of the faith, the writer to the Hebrews says:

Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him who endured such hostility from sinners against himself, so that you won’t grow weary and give up.
Hebrews 12v1-3

We don't keep going by looking at the example of those who went before for encouragement (though that can help). We keep going by looking where they were looking.

I thought of that when listening to this song:

Sunday, 7 October 2018

NO prep Sunday School lesson

Our Sunday School class was given this book* and matching set of cards.

Here's how we used it:

I told the children I didn't know what the story was going to be today :-)

Then I spread out the cards (face up) and let a child choose one.

She picked Selina, Countess of Huntingdon (whom I'd never heard of), and I looked her up in the book and read the story.

Nice illustrations! Child-friendly, modern, not twee, pretty good likenesses.

I then tried to do a quiz where they ran to either side of the room depending on the answer. It didn't work very well because it was impossible to ask multiple choice questions that were not blindingly obvious :-). But they enjoyed running about anyway.

Then I got a child to look up the reference of the Bible verse below the picture in their own Bible, and read it out.

We then repeated the whole thing with a second card - I got them to choose a boy this time (we got Eric Liddel). And Kerenna, who read this story, omitted the 'quiz' - instead she asked open ended questions, which worked better.

Finally, we did a craft, using things I already had - cardboard boy/girl shapes I got from Poundland, and scrap paper/pens.

On one side they wrote the person's name and dates, and some words to describe them - I tried to encourage them all to include something about Jesus.

btw 'nis' means 'nice'. 'circhn' means 'christian'. No idea about 'lusrns'

The other side they decorated to look like the person. We only had time to do one person each.

Hope you like Eric's tattoos :-)

This is also ideal to keep in the cupboard, for days when you need an emergency lesson due to a teacher being unwell (like today).

Here's a worksheet I made that could also be used.

The box is for a picture.

*Note: I'm not sure what age this book is aimed at. I'd say the language is sometimes a little young for our 6-8 year olds and sometimes more specific details would be better for our age. But the amount of content and focus on one or two main points was ideal.

Monday, 24 September 2018


I wonder what the kids in the creche make of this?

In fact, I suspect maybe even some of their parents will never have seen a rotary telephone!

Tuesday, 18 September 2018


I don't subscribe to the multiverse theory of the origins of the universe (God is much more plausible).

BUT it is a gift to science fiction writers. Especially when the different universes get confused.

15 Sam Carters trying to figure out how this happened, and how to fix it :-D
(SG1 9:13, Ripple Effect)

Mitchell enjoying a drink with himself.

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Garden-themed face painting

Last Saturday my neighbours asked me to do face painting at their allotment open day.

They suggested I didn't do full faces, as they can take a long time (although mine don't usually!) so this was a good chance to develop new designs.

I decided to go with a garden theme:

  • The rainbow is done by painting a sponge in stripes - or you could use one of those fancy striped paints. The stars and dots cover up the rough ends.
  • The fairy was an old design, but seemed appropriate.
  • No-one asked for the weather one, but I like it.

  • This is a new butterfly which I like much better than my old one - and is deceptively easy. It's based on a real butterfly (monarch), but I let them choose the colour.
  • Spiders and bees were both very popular, with both boys and girls.
  • The worms were difficult to get the pink paint opaque enough - fortunately only had to do one.

  • The background of the small flowers is done with a sponge rubbed on two colours of paint - I let them choose any colour.
  • I must have lost the leaves picture, because I didn't have it with me! I quite like it, though.
  • No-one asked for the big flower or apples.

Definitely easier not doing full faces, especially as you don't have to paint round their awkwardly screwed up eyes.

Several of these will be worth adding to my repertoire - maybe not the worms!

©2018 Kirsty McAllister. You may use these designs for both amateur and professional face painting. BUT you may not sell or publish these design sheets. If you share them, you must leave thecopyright notice on them.

Friday, 7 September 2018

CROSS WORDS colouring pictures

I've added some new colouring pictures to my shop. I did these to fit with the themes for the evening communion services we had in my church over the summer (though I've added a few I missed). Style and complexity varies wildly, because I just did whatever I felt like at the time! Pictures are mostly from the LAMP PowerPoints. 

Other links: 
Here's the mini-sermon series.

And most of these were designed to a soundtrack of Resurrection Letters Prologue by Andrew Peterson - the first song is particularly appropriate.

And I also did a printable poster based on one of the colouring pictures: 

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Monday, 3 September 2018

Ribs & tigers

We had the story of the creation of Adam & Eve at Sunday School yesterday.
Naresh explained that Eve was made from Adam's rib.

7 year old: But if his ribs were taken out he wouldn't be able to survive.

Rib, not ribs :-D

Also, the kids had to guess the names of various animals from clues.
One clue started: "This animal has a big strong tail. Its hop is quite amazing..."
Another 7 year old's hand shot up: "A tiger!"
Even after repeating the clues (including ones about pouches and Australia) he insisted, to everyone's bemusement, that it was a tiger.

My dad thinks he may have an explanation: (scroll down)